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quotations about expectations

There is abundant reason to believe that optimism – big, little, and in between – is useful to a person because positive expectations can be self-fulfilling.

CHRISTOPHER PETERSON, American Psychologist, Jan. 2000

So the secret to good self-esteem is to lower your expectations to the point where they're already met?

BILL WATTERSON, The Days are Just Packed

Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords: but, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain; and expectations improperly indulged must end in disappointment.

SAMUEL JOHNSON, Letter, Jun. 8, 1762

A life that is burdened with expectations is a heavy life. Its fruit is sorrow and disappointment.

DOUGLAS ADAMS, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.

ALEXANDER POPE, letter to Warburton, Mar. 24, 1743

It is great to be a blonde. With low expectations it's very easy to surprise people.


Expect everything so that nothing comes unexpected.

NORTON JUSTER, The Phantom Tollbooth

A good expectation is better than a bad possession.

IBN-HAFSOON-OMAR, attributed, Day's Collacon

Unhappiness lies in that gap between our talents and our expectations.

SEBASTIAN HORSLEY, Dandy in the Underworld

You cannot fill your belly by painting pictures of bread.


If you expect nothing from anybody, you're never disappointed.


I think it would be worse to expect nothing than to be disappointed.

L. M. MONTGOMERY, Anne of Green Gables

In our pursuit of the things of this world, we usually prevent enjoyment by expectation; we anticipate our own happiness, and eat out the heart and sweetness and worldly pleasures by delightful forethoughts of them; so that when we come to possess them, they do not answer the expectation, nor satisfy the desires which were raised about them, and they vanish into nothing.

JOHN TILLOTSON, "The Resurrection of our Savior Consider'd, as an Argument for Seeking Things Above," The Works of the Most Reverend Dr. John Tillotson

Oft expectation fails and most oft there
Where most it promises, and oft it hits
Where hope is coldest and despair most fits.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, All's Well That Ends Well

It is easier to make our wishes conform to our means than to make our means conform to our wishes.

ROBERT E. LEE, Personal Reminiscences of General Robert E. Lee

If you expect nothing, you can never be disappointed. Apart from a few starry-eyed poets or monks living on a mountaintop somewhere, however, we all have expectations. We not only have them, we need them. They fuel our dreams, our hopes, and our lives like some super-caffeinated energy drink.

TONYA HURLEY, Homecoming

Would any thing but a madman complain of uncertainty? Uncertainty and expectation are joys of life; security is an insipid thing; and the overtaking and possessing of a wish discovers the folly of the chase.


Sometimes the unexpected happens when you don't expect a person to come up to expectations.

EVAN ESAR, 20,000 Quips & Quotes

'Tis expectation makes a blessing dear;
Heaven were not Heaven, if we knew what it were.

JOHN SUCKLING, Against Fruition

Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack.


I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.

BRUCE LEE, attributed, The Bruce Lee Story

From lean meat do not expect fat broth.


I know not anything more pleasant, or more instructive, than to compare experience with expectation, or to register from time to time the difference between idea and reality. It is by this kind of observation that we grow daily less liable to be disappointed.

SAMUEL JOHNSON, The Life of Samuel Johnson

A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes.

MARK TWAIN, Mark Twain's Notebook

Expectations are blossoms; few only mature in fruit.

EMPEROR YE-WANG, attributed, Day's Collacon

Can we remember when, in those more tender years--before our sense of wonder was either crushed, or brushed away by a world rushing by--how alive we were with a bare longing to know life by itself? How life's mysteries held no fear for us, but rather filled us with expectations ... so much so that some nights it was hard to fall asleep; or we'd spend the night actively dreaming of all the possibilities life seemed to offer? Can we look back on ourselves when we were like this and recall when our hearts and minds were still wide open; how intrigued we were by the world unfolding around us, even as we were awakening to an exploding universe of feelings welling up within us?

GUY FINLEY, Let Go and Live in the Now

Expectation ends only in heaven.

KENTIJERN, attributed, Day's Collacon

In a little place is hid a great treasure, and in a small hope a boundless expectation.

J. BODENHAM, attributed, Day's Collacon

Looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them. You mayn't get the things themselves; but nothing can prevent you from having the fun of looking forward to them.

L. M. MONTGOMERY, Anne of Green Gables

Today expect something good to happen to you no matter what occurred yesterday. Realize the past no longer holds you captive. It can only continue to hurt you if you hold on to it. Let the past go. A simply abundant world awaits.

SARAH BREATHNACH, Simple Abundance

Do a little more every day than you are expected to do, and soon you will be expected to do more.

EVAN ESAR, 20,000 Quips & Quotes

Promising is the very air o' the time; it opens the eyes of expectation.



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